I really like light art photography; this is where the camera is set to a very long shutter speed (eg. 30 seconds) and patterns are drawn by moving a torch through the air. Unfortunately it is quite difficult to get right. While trying to draw the outline of a shape with the torch, it is way too easy to forget where you’ve already been, therefore getting all the proportions wrong!
Over the weekend there was an unexpected (but welcome) spurt in temperature across Ireland. I already packed away most of my summer clothing, so it was a surprise on Saturday to find that I could go outside without a jacket! I hope the warm weather stays for another while…
Yesterday I tried out some sun-shots; these are pictures which are taken against the sun and cause some interesting lens flares effects. It is quite difficult technique to get right, as it is very easy to completely wash out the picture with the bright sun. Here are two of my better attempts.
Growing towards the sun
Sunny autumn day
My grandfather was quite an avid photographer, back in the good old days of black and white film. When he bought a new camera, my dad got his old one to use for himself. This is how a number of cameras from around the 1950s and upwards ended up in my house.
The camera which I looked at today is an AGFA Isolette II, which was produced during the 1950s. It is a medium format “folder”, which uses 120 roll film. With “folder”, I mean that the lens is collapsible and can be retracted for safety and convenience. In the first picture below, you can see the camera in the retracted state. By pressing one of the buttons on top, the lens is released and pops out very quickly!
The camera comes with an Apotar 85mm lens, and the focus is adjusted by using the shutter speed and aperture settings. Film is wound manually, and there is even a little red-tinted window at the back of the camera to see if the film has been wound into the right position.
The camera in a leather case.
With the lens popped out!
Dials for aperture and focus.
Collapsing the lens…
Yesterday evening I walked into town, and on my way I tried to take some pictures. To capture really good night-time photographs, you should always bring a good and steady tripod. Unfortunately my tripod is quite heavy (it has a heavy metal head which is perfect for filmmaking), and I decided it would be too cumbersome to bring with me. Instead I placed my camera on any stable outcrop I could find; usually a bin, wall or fence. I just turn on the 3 second delay (so that pressing the button wouldn’t cause a shaky picture), set the aperture to F8 (for a reasonable amount of sharpness) and it turned out quite well…
Looking down the street…
I like folding together origami designs and am actually quite good at it (see here for one of my attempts). Unfortunately I am not yet good enough to assemble the origami creations in the pictures below. A Japanese woman was selling them at a market, and I couldn’t resist taking a few snaps of all the intricate artworks!
I suspect some glue was used here…
An intricate flower pattern
As any photographer knows, the ‘going out and taking pictures’ part is actually only a portion of the work. Especially now with digital photography, we always tend to take a couple of extra shots of everything, ‘just to be sure‘! This is all fine and grand, until we have to sieve through thousands of pictures, trying to find the usable ones.
It does not just take time to process so many pictures, but also a great amount of space. I personally like to save all of my pictures in both JPEG as well as RAW formats. I use RAW as most of the pictures I take seem to be ‘spur of the moment‘ snaps, with almost no time to adjust white balance or exposure settings. This then allows me to change all the camera settings afterwards, and then reprocess the pictures using Photoshop. But at a huge cost; 27 MB per image!
Back to my original point, all of these pictures need sorting and ultimately archiving. This is how I spent most of my time yesterday; browsing through old pictures, throwing out the blurred or awkward ones and then finally moving them onto my external hard-disc. When archiving old pictures, I tend to throw out all the RAW files, as they take up too much space and I doubt I will ever look at them again.
Anyway, while I was looking through my pictures of Inis Oírr, I found a very nice one which I must have happened to overlook at the time… I took this shot on the morning when I was leaving the island after my three weeks there were over. It was around 7am in the morning and the place was just serene!
Beach at Dawn